Hemingway is terribly limited. His technique is good for short stories, for people who meet once in a bar very late at night, but do not enter into relations. But not for the novel.
— W. H. Auden
No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted.
It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
Sob, heavy world Sob as you spin, Mantled in mist Remote from the happy.
If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.
I'll love you, dear, I'll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.
Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.
I don't get acting jobs because of my looks.
Learn from your dreams what you lack.
When I am in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes.
The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.
My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.
God bless the USA, so large, so friendly, and so rich.
The countenances of children, like those of animals, are masks, not faces, for they have not yet developed a significant profile of their own.
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic.
It's a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
All works of art are commissioned in the sense that no artist can create one by a simple act of will but must wait until what he believes to be a good idea for a work comes to him.
Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.
A poet can write about a man slaying a dragon, but not about a man pushing a button that releases a bomb.
In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.
All that we are not stares back at what we are.
Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.
A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know.
All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.
Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.
Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.
No human being is innocent, but there is a class of innocent human actions called Games.
The class distinctions proper to a democratic society are not those of rank or money, still less, as is apt to happen when these are abandoned, of race, but of age.
One cannot walk through an assembly factory and not feel that one is in Hell.
Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.
If time were the wicked sheriff in a horse opera, I'd pay for riding lessons and take his gun away.
Murder is commoner among cooks than among members of any other profession.
History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.
Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one.
'Healing,' Papa would tell me, 'is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.'
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.
Good can imagine Evil; but Evil cannot imagine Good.
Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.
It takes little talent to see what lies under one's nose, a good deal to know in what direction to point that organ.
Art is born of humiliation.
You know there are no secrets in America. It's quite different in England, where people think of a secret as a shared relation between two people.
It's frightening how easy it is to commit murder in America. Just a drink too much. I can see myself doing it. In England, one feels all the social restraints holding one back. But here, anything can happen.
May it not be that, just as we have to have faith in Him, God has to have faith in us and, considering the history of the human race so far, may it not be that 'faith' is even more difficult for Him than it is for us?
The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living.
Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.
A poet is a professional maker of verbal objects.
Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.
In a world of prayer, we are all equal in the sense that each of us is a unique person, with a unique perspective on the world, a member of a class of one.